Everyone isn't a master networker. I get it. However, we often let opportunities pass us by because we are too busy looking for answers online and everywhere in between. So here is the last post about contacting recruiters that you will ever need to read so you can get out there and get these opportunities popping. Even if you aren't actively searching, you should contact a recruiter as soon as you think you may want a new job. Why? Because, finding the right fit for you may take some time. Don't be afraid to reach out to a recruiter without having any prior connection. Tracy Vistine, lead recruiter with Messina Group said it best: "A recruiter's job is to present highly-qualified candidates quickly. So, they are always networking. It's completely acceptable to contact a recruiter via LinkedIn - even if you haven't met them in person." Here are some tips on how to connect with a recruiter.
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Apply first then get in touch.
Check out the company’s career website and apply for open positions online. Once you have applied online, send an email to the recruiter introducing yourself and stating that you have already applied. This saves the recruiter time since you are already in the electronic database and, more importantly, it makes you seem particularly proactive. Know something about the company to which you are applying. Learn what distinguishes that company from others and make it known to the recruiter through your talking points that you have done your research. A recruiter wants to know you’ve invested time into learning about the company, or at least the industry. Many companies host events or offer ways online to interact. Social media is obviously a big part of business and the first step would be to follow the company on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and through blogs; the more you put your name out there, the more dedicated and knowledgeable you will look to an employer.
Get straight to the point when emailing a recruiter.
The best way to gain employment is to be direct with the recruiter or point of contact." says Kenneth L. Johnson, President of the diversity recruiting firm East Coast Executives. An email or Linkedin message is often the best way to reach out to recruiters because it allows for a reply on their own schedule during busy times. I would suggest being relatively brief and writing the body of the email as a short cover letter. First sentences tend to be tricky, and there is nothing wrong with starting an email with "I am very interested in working at ____, because of x,y,z.” Recruiters are busy, so if you are going to slide into their messages, it is best not to beat around the bush. Communicate your interest and passion, and place it directly in line with the company's mission. When seeking out a particular position, it’s best to align your industry specific work history and/or transferable skills with the desired position and present yourself as a SME (Subject Matter Expert) in the field. Take the time to cater your email to the company to which you are applying and express what you will bring to the company, not just what a job there can do for you. Always attach your resume to the email so that the recruiter may look at it immediately. Once an initial email has been sent, it is then appropriate to follow up with another email after about a week or two of not receiving a response. However, don’t take the recruiter’s lack of responsiveness as rejection. Recruiters are contacted constantly throughout the day. Your objective as an applicant is to introduce yourself politely and keep your qualifications top of mind to the recruiter.
BUILD THE KIND OF RESUME RECRUITERS WANT TO READ.
What You Shouldn't Do When Contacting a Recruiter or Hiring Manager
Whenever asking for help from a recruiter or reaching out directly to a hiring manager, remember his or her time is limited. It is appropriate to ask for the recruiter’s help exploring any future job opportunities at his or her company. It is also appropriate to ask direct, specific questions, but the recruiter is not there to edit your resume or answer vague questions such as, “How can I break into the industry?” When you do contact a recruiter, there needs to be a distinct point to the contact, and it needs to be done intelligently. Most recruiters receive correspondence from an overwhelming amount of career seekers and typically aren’t able to spend time meeting with each and every potential candidate. Recruiters earn their keep by making placements.
Once you’ve presented yourself as a viable candidate they will contact you if an opportunity exist that appears to be a match. Never send an email with no body text and only a resume attached. Always use the subject line. Don’t stalk the recruiters. A follow up phone call is fine, but constant nagging has the reverse effect. Following up and keeping contacts is a skill. The important thing about working with a recruiter, and networking in general, is that it needs to be a relationship. Of course contacting recruiters is done in hopes of securing a job, but if no job is available or if they go with another candidate, you can still cultivate a relationship. The hiring process is certainly different depending on size of a company and industry, but it never hurts to put a face to a name and humanize your application.